Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My Roehampton Recap; Five US Girls Reach Wimbledon Quarterfinals; Crawford, Kypson Advance to Third Round in Boys Draw; Querrey Downs Murray

©Colette Lewis 2017--

The junior grass court season is a short one, consisting of the Grade 1 in Roehampton and Wimbledon. I went to the finals of Roehampton for the first time on Friday, and wrote this Tennis Recruiting Network article on the victories by Axel Geller of Argentina and Claire Liu, both of whom are still in the running for the Wimbledon junior titles.

Due to the rain on Tuesday, the boys are now a day behind the girls, who played their third round matches today.  Top seed Kayla Day was one of two girls who had to finish a second round match before playing a third round match, but she made it easier on herself by coming from 5-2 down in the second set to beat qualifier Jule Niemeier of Germany 6-2, 7-6(5) to move into the third round.

Day was scheduled to return to the same court after Claire Liu played her third round match with En Shuo Liang of Taiwan, but as has been the case throughout the past two weeks, Liu has gotten on and off the court quickly, with her 6-3, 6-3 victory taking just over an hour.  Day, taking on No. 15 seed Zeel Desai of India, was a bit put off by the quick turnaround.

"It was a little hard mentally, because I had like only 45 minutes," said Day. "Because Claire just like rolled through. So I wasn't even cooled down by the time I had to back on again. I was in the match, but at the beginning, I was like whoa, I'm back on court again. It was hard, because this morning it was such a close second set."

Day fell behind 2-0 in the second set against Desai, but she broke right back and then broke again for a 5-4 lead, on a perfectly executed crosscourt forehand pass.  Desai saved three match points, but on the fourth Day took aim and hit a forehand on the line to close out the 6-5, 6-4 win.

"I was like, I'm going for this one," said the 17-year-old from Santa Barbara California. "I'm not going to let her hit another winner. And I barely made it."

Day will be facing unseeded Ann Li in Thursday's quarterfinals, after Li defeated Maja Chwalinska of Poland 7-6(4), 6-2.  Li and Day have played three times at Grade 1 events, all in 2016, with Day 3-0, but she did drop the first set in both her third round win in Carson and her semifinal win in Tulsa, the two times they've met on hard courts.

"I've beaten her both times, but both times I've lost the first set, so it will definitely be will be a good match," said Day. "She's very aggressive and she likes to come to the net, so her style really suits grass. So it'll be tough. I've actually seen a couple of her matches, and she's been playing really well."

Day and Li are the only Americans facing on another, but Liu, Sofia Sewing and Whitney Osuigwe give the United States five of the eight quarterfinalists.  No. 14 seed Sewing defeated Ellie Douglas 6-3, 6-4 today and will play unseeded Simona Waltert of Switzerland, who took out No. 10 seed Xin Yu Wang of China 6-2, 6-4.  Osuigwe beat Katie Swan of Great Britain 6-4, 2-6 6-1 and will face unseeded Sofya Lansere of Russia, a 7-5, 6-1 winner over No. 9 seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia. Osuigwe beat Lansere 6-2, 6-3 in the second round last week in Roehampton.

Liu will take on No. 6 seed Carson Branstine of Canada, who until this spring trained with Day, Liu, Taylor Johnson and others at the USTA's Player Development Center in Carson California.

"I think that training with your friends and people the same age as you really helps a lot," said Liu, who at 17 is playing in her third Wimbledon as a junior, and reached the quarterfinals last year. "You always get really good match play, and you're training with your friends, so that's always nice."

Liu lost to Branstine 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 last December at the Orange Bowl round of 16 in the only time they have played, and she knows Branstine's serve is even more dangerous on grass.

"Having a big serve helps you on grass, and that's definitely a big advantage, but I also like to think that I can serve," Liu said. "But I'm just going to try to get as many balls back as I can, hopefully try to string a few points together, get a set."

While the US girls have a chance to end the drought of an American Wimbledon girls champion that extends back to Chanda Rubin in 1992, the third US boys champion in the past four years will need to come from lesser odds, with only Oliver Crawford and Patrick Kypson among the final 16 boys.

Kypson took out No. 5 seed Yuta Shimizu of Japan 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 to avenge a three-set loss earlier this year at the Grade A in Brazil. Kypson will face British wild card George Loffhagen, who surprised No. 9 seed Rudolf Molleker of Germany 6-4, 6-4.

Loffhagen is one of two British wild cards in the final 16, with Aidan McHugh also defeating a seed in No. 6 Marko Mladinovic of Serbia. But Crawford put an end to the hopes of a third, Barnaby Smith, who was unable to serve out the first set and fell to the No. 10 seed 7-6(3), 6-2.

Crawford broke to start the second set, and Smith struggled with his focus in the subsequent games.

"I broke him in the first game and I think that kind of hurt his confidence," said Crawford, who starts classes at the University of Florida next month. "Losing a set 7-6, after serving for it at 6-5, and getting broken right out of the gates, hurt his confidence. That put pressure on his serve and I felt confident moving forward and I held pretty handily. So I was very pleased with the second set, and with how I competed in the first set."

Crawford prefers clay and hard courts to grass, but he still enjoys an opportunity to share the experience of playing at Wimbledon with his parents, both of whom are British.

"I prefer red clay and having more time on my forehand, I guess," said the 18-year-old, who is from Spartanburg, South Carolina. "But it's been good, I really enjoy myself here. It's been a great experience, especially with my Dad. He's been my coach this week and getting to enjoy the practice courts. He's come out in his all whites and he's liking it. It's been a great time."

Crawford's opponent in the third round is No. 8 seed Alejandro Fokina Davidovich of Spain, one of just five seeds remaining in the boys draw. Top seed Corentin Moutet of France beat Menelaos Efstathiou of Cyprus 6-3, 6-2 today, while No. 2 seed Yibing Wu had advanced on Tuesday.

US boys who fell today in the second round were Roehampton finalist Sam Riffice, who lost to Constantin Bittoun-Kouzmine of France 7-6(8), 7-6(5) and Sebastian Korda, who was beaten by Michael Vrbensky of the Czech Republic 6-0, 7-6(5).

The first round of doubles in both the boys and girls draws was completed today, with all eight seeds advancing in the girls draw.  Liu, Johnson, Day, Osuigwe, Douglas and Caty McNally are all into the second round.  Four of the eight seeds in the boys draw were beaten in the first round, but top seeds Zsombor Piros of Hungary and Wu advanced, as did No. 2 seeds Axel Geller of Argentina and Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan.  No. 6 seeds Trent Bryde and Alafia Ayeni and Vasil Kirkov and DJ Thomas are through to the second round, as is Alexandre Rotsaert, Andrew Fenty and Korda.

Junior draws are available at the Wimbledon website.

For the first time since Andy Roddick reached the Wimbledon final in 2009, an American man is into a slam semifinal, with Sam Querrey defeating ATP No. 1 and defending champion Andy Murray 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1 today on Centre Court. No. 24 seed Querrey will face No. 7 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia in Friday's semifinals.


Petre said...

Wonder if Manny is having second thoughts on turning in his associate coach, now that his son has also been charged?

Guest said...

Petre, I don't think Manny really had a choice. Once the matter was brought to his attention, he had to address it. Everything about this situation is just unfortunate, a shame it had to happen